Anxiety

   

 

What is anxiety?

 

•    Feeling uncomfortable or distressed in

 situations
•    It is a natural  response when we

feel under threat or afraid
•    It can be experienced through thoughts and feelings

•    Low – level fears

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

The physical symptoms:

-    Increased heart rate

-    Breathlessness

-    Sweating

-    Stomach pains and muscle tension

-    Feeling sick

-    Excessive tiredness or insomnia

Why anxiety is a mental health problem?

  • It can impact your ability to function adequately

  • Feelings of anxiety can be very strong and last for a long time

  • Fears are disproportionate to the situation

  • Avoid situations that make you anxious

  • It is hard to control

 “fight, flight  response”:

•    Our bodies release stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol)

•    We  start to worry

•    Levels of fear increase

•    This makes us more alert and therefore we can react  

Most common anxiety disorders:

Panic disorder:

  • Having regular panic attacks 

  • It can make you feel constantly afraid of having other panic attacks to the point  that the fear triggers your panic attacks

Social anxiety disorder:

  • Extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social events

  • Also known as social phobia

Generalised anxiety disorder:

  • Having regular or uncontrollable worries

  • It’s a broad diagnosis so your experience can be different from someone else’s

Phobias:

  • It is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by something specific 

Post-traumatic stress disorder:

  • If you develop anxiety problems after going through something traumatic

  • You can have flashbacks and nightmares

Body dysmorphic disorder:

  • Having obsessions  relating to physical appearance

Obsessive-compulsive disorder:

  • Having repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges

Health Anxiety:

  • Experience obsessions  relating to illness

  • E.g. researching symptoms and checking if you have them

Perinatal anxiety or perinatal OCD:

  • Some women develop anxiety problems during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth

Effects on the body:

  • An uneasy feeling in your stomach

  • Feeling light – headed 

  • Pins and needles

  • Feeling restless or unable to sit still

  • Headaches, backaches or other aches in the body

  • Faster breathing

  • A fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Sweating or hot flushes

  • Problems sleeping

  • Grinding your teeth

  • Nausea

  • Needing to go to the bathroom more or less often

  • Having panic attacks

 What do panic attacks feel like:

 

  • a pounding or racing heartbeat 

  •  feeling faint, dizzy 

  • feeling very hot (or very cold)  

  • sweating, shaking , or nausea (feeling sick)  

  • pain in your chest 

  • struggling to breathe or feeling like you're choking 

  • feeling like your legs are shaky 

  • feeling disconnected from your mind, body, or surroundings (these are types of dissociation).

Effects on the mind:

 

  • feeling tense, nervous   

  •  fearing the worst  

  • feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down  

  • feeling like other people can see you're anxious and are looking at you  

  • feeling like you can't stop worrying, or that bad things will happen if you stop worrying about anxiety   

  • wanting lots of reassurance from other people or worrying that people are angry or upset with you  

  • worrying that you're losing touch with reality  

  • thinking a lot about bad experiences

  •  feeling disconnected from your mind or body, or like you're watching someone else ( a type of dissociation)  

  • feeling disconnected from the world around you, or like the world isn't real (a type of dissociation) and worrying a lot about things that might happen in the future

 During a panic attack   you might feel very   afraid that you are:

  • losing control   

  • going to faint

  • having a heart attack

going to die

 How to manage panic   attacks:

  • focus on your breathing

  • focus on your senses

  • try grounding techniques

 

 Think about self – care and tell someone you trust about it.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder:

  • If you develop anxiety problems after going through something you found traumatic

  • It can cause flashbacks and nightmares

Perinatal anxiety or perinatal OCD:

  • Some women develop anxiety problems during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth

How to help someone   who is having a panic   attack:

  • stay calm

  • encourage them to breathe slowly and deeply

  • encourage them to sit somewhere quietly until they feel better

 Life situations that can trigger anxiety are:

  • exhaustion or a build up of stress

  • long working hours

  • being out of work

  • feeling under pressure

  • losing someone close to you

  • feeling lonely or isolated

  • being bullied, harassed or abused

How to help yourself:

  • talk to someone

  • try to manage your worries

  • look after your physical health

  • breathing exercises

  • peer support

  • complementary therapies

 During a panic attack   you might feel very   afraid that you are:

  • losing control   

  • going to faint

  • having a heart attack

going to die

 How to manage panic   attacks:

  • focus on your breathing

  • focus on your senses

  • try grounding techniques

 

Afterwards think about self – care and tell someone you trust about it.